Crucified Beneath Her Touch


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In my darkest hour,
rolled up into a ball upon the divan
reading Plath and Poe,
fantasizing about the silent sweetness of death;
writing angry, diminished verse raging against
all things holy and full of light…
then, only then was I full of purpose and certainty.

From the falling of the sun until the break of dawn,
pouring ice-less cups of bourbon to free my tongue,
burning with each gulp as I exorcised my demons
on the back of half-torn slips of
empty bank statements and creditor threat letters.

My loving Kate stood sentinel outside the door,
occasionally sneaking in a tepid bowl of broth
or a grilled cheese sandwich;
she both hated me beyond all measure
and attended to my waking needs with a love that
stung me to my bitter core.
She stayed because she could see in me
what I could not, as I lay crucified beneath
her touch. I stayed with her so that someone
would be around to answer the angry phone.

In the daylight, awash in the cool grey light of morning,
I tucked away in the roll-topped desk
all evidence of my madness.
Beneath a shower of scalding water,
I made vain attempts to wash away my sins
of the previous night.
I stuffed my walking corpse into
a starched white linen shirt,
draped with a burgundy tie,
and stepped into my fresh-pressed suit
(dear, Kate!) I kissed her dry lips goodbye.

Each day, I drive into the city,
interviewing for jobs I would never accept,
stopping by Tommy’s Irish Pub for a shot of Johnny,
and napping the afternoon away on a
faded green park bench outside the county courthouse.
At 5pm I headed home to flee the light once more.

Dinner would rest un-touched
as I passed straight through toward oblivion.
Kate would be at her spinning class
as I dropped the suit and all pretense,
pulled on a pair of faded jeans,
and slowly drifted into my melancholy.
Each day, I would rummage through her dresser,
lightly tracing my fingers over her satin underthings,
remembering when.
I’d pull another freshly bought
bottle of amber courage from the kitchen pantry
(dear, sweet Kate) and poured
myself another night.

My Wounds Shall Heal, So Too My Heart


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silence, once a precious sound
where tenderness and love were found;
Lies now beneath my swollen lips,
once tender ‘neath a lover’s kiss.

My world adorned in rainbow hues
turns black with bitter shades of blue.
Promises, once pledged, are broken,
shattered with a harsh word spoken.

The trust we found in wedded bliss
ground to dust beneath your fist.

This pitiful epiphany –
your quest to now diminish me?
Without consent cannot succeed,
despite how much you make me bleed.

For now my strength absorbs the blows,
but this, my love, you do not know
Your rage and hatred will not define me;
your brutal threats cannot confine me.

My wounds will heal, so, too, my heart
Despite the love you’ve torn apart.

An Infinite Pain


And they will say, “At least he’s not in pain anymore.”

Really?

I have left this world just as I was beginning
to understand my role in it. I will never experience
the wonder of new lands, nor will I ever listen to the
crashing of a wave against the shore. I will never again
hike the wooded forests, or climb a lush green mountain.

I have widowed my wife and whisked away her best friend.
I will never feel the softness of her lips; hear the laughter in her voice.
I will never share with her my deepest secrets, nor will I receive hers.
I will never love again as I have loved.

I have taken my children’s father away
before they were even halfway home.
They will grow, and marry, and have children of their
own, children who will never be gathered into their
grandfather’s arms. In time, they will forget me
altogether.

I have ceased to be a friend, forever,
to those I held dearest. When my name is called, I will
not come. When I’m needed most, I will not come. I have
taken so much, and will never be there to return the favor.

I will never feel the warmth of the sun
upon my face, or smell another fall as it rustles in. I shall
never shower in a spring rainstorm, nor will I taste another
snowflake in winter.

In what alternate universe does any of this mean I am free of pain?

To spend eternity in certain knowledge that I have failed everybody
and everything that I hold close in this life? I would rather live racked
with the physical pain of cancer for the remainder of my life than to
steal away a single day from those I treasure most.

Do not say, “At least he is not in pain anymore.”

My pain is infinite. My sorrow will bleed through the ages.